is the first of Dick Francis' books featuring former champion steeplechase jockey Sid Halley. Although you'll sometimes see them referred to as the Sid Halley "series", the fact is that all four of them stand alone perfectly well. (One way or another, you'll want to read them all, so I guess it doesn't matter too much.)
In Odds Against
, Sid has already suffered his career-ending injury: a passing horse wearing a worn-down racing shoe stepped on his arm after he had fallen during a race, slashing the tendons irreparably and leaving the now-healed arm withered and useless. The injury that robbed him of his beloved racing was the second blow - his wife, feeling like a superfluous appliance in the life of self-sufficient Sid, ended their marriage only months before his accident. Through a friend, Sid has gotten a job working for investigators Hunt Radnor Associates, although he doesn't have much enthusiasm for anything.
On a stakeout for Hunt Radnor, Sid gets shot, and is invited to recuperate at the home of his former father-in-law, Charles, with whom he has maintained a close relationship. Once there, Sid quickly realizes that Charles has brought him there not only to heal his gunshot wound, but to act as bait for a couple who may be involved in an attempt to ruin a local racecourse, in order to snap up the land for development. Unfortunately, it also puts Sid in harm's way yet again - not Charles' intention at all, but sometimes a threat to what one has left when they think they've lost everything can be the needed spark to bring that hidden self back to life.